Browse Prior Art Database

MetaAdministrator for 3rd Party Business Application Software

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022696D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-25
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-25
Document File: 2 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is an invention that speeds up the common consulting task of prototyping business software for clients by creating a data model to store the configuration aspects that most often change from company to company and automating the process of actually configuring the software by leveraging default settings and batch files.

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MetaAdministrator for 3rd Party Business Application Software

What MetaAdministrator Can Do

The MetaAdministrator is an automation tool to improve the integration and overall quality of three tasks typically executed by functional IT consultants on projects involving implementations of Business Application software (e.g. i2, Manugistics):

Creation of multiple working models of the Business Application to support the design and solution

validation phases of the project while client users determine an approach that is most appropriate Documenting the chosen solution in written and electronic form

Transporting the chosen solution to an alternate hardware environment to support the more in-depth

testing phases of the implementation project

These tasks are usually performed within two constraints that can add additional time and skill requirements to the process:

They are usually supported only by the administrative tools provided by the Business Application software vendor. These tools are typically designed to support the one-time setup of a production environment, not the trial and error process of prototyping and agreeing on a solution approach. As a result, these tools are often cumbersome and require restarting the entire configuration process everytime a change is desired. They are usually performed as separate exercises, with lots of copying and pasting of relevant data and the need to maintain changes to the configuration in multiple repositories (e.g. the prototype environment, the testing environment, and the documentation).

While the concepts of meta-languages, automation macros and translation middleware are not new, the specific application of these concepts to functional business consulting methodology is, if not new, at least far less common.

The benefits to the consultant are as follows:

Vastly reduced probability of losing valuable project hours to support file mistakes such as missing commas or incorrect field lengths Ability to easily create, mantain and switch among multiple approaches to model the client business requirements, enhancing client satisfaction in the solution that is eventually chosen Removing the significant rework that typically exists when documenting a configuration

The known solutions to this problem involve:

Executing the configuration process manually using the process recommended by the 3rd party software vendor. In practice with the one implementation of MetaAdministrator, this is a more time-consuming process. It is also more variable given the possibility of spending hours locating minor syntactical errors in configuration files. Creating technology such as MetaAdministrator, or a subset of the full MetaAdministrator functionality, as part of the implementation project tasks. This is usually not undertaken due to either a lack of skills on the part of the implementation consultant, or a lack of allocated project time.

How MetaAdministrator Works

MetaAdministrator links a set of database tab...